Science Next Door: Fermilab's Community Newsletter Science Next Door: Fermilab's Community Newsletter
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Welcome to Science Next Door, Fermilab's community newsletter. Once a month, we'll give you the rundown about what's happening here at the laboratory and provide information about our public events. If you would prefer not to receive this newsletter, you can click the "unsubscribe" button below. Thank you!
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Fermilab's 500-mile neutrino experiment is up and running

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If you follow Fermilab's scientific work, you've probably heard of NOvA, the laboratory's latest (and largest) experiment. For nearly five years, crews in two states have been building NOvA's two massive particle detectors, placed 500 miles apart. The 300-ton near detector was constructed underground at Fermilab and the 14,000-ton far detector was constructed in northern Minnesota. Both huge rectangular detectors are made of plastic, and at 50 feet high, 50 feet wide and 200 feet long, the far detector is believed to be the largest free-standing plastic structure in the world.

Why did we build such a thing? Because we expect it will tell us more about the universe we live in and what role ghostly particles called neutrinos played in its evolution. Fermilab will send tens of thousands of billions of these particles each second through the Earth to Minnesota – we don't need a tunnel, because neutrinos pass through everything without leaving a trace. Only rarely do they interact with an atom and create a signal. This makes them difficult to study, which is why we need to send so many of them to such large detectors, hoping that a few each day will interact inside, where we can observe them.

While NOvA has been partially operational for most of this year, it's now completely built, on time and under budget, and the experiment has begun in earnest. NOvA is a big step toward the laboratory's goal of becoming the neutrino capital of the world, the best place for the world's scientists to study these fascinating particles. For awesome photos and videos of the NOvA experiment, visit this page on our website.
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spacerFEATURED EVENTS
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Photo column spacer African Guitar Summit – Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.
As any student of African guitar music can tell you, that term actually encompasses many different styles from many different traditions. Juno-winning Canadian group African Guitar Summit offers a crash course in several of them. Featuring musicians from five countries, this performance will take you on a tour of several distinct cultural backgrounds while building musical bridges between them. This show is one stop on African Guitar Summit's first U.S. tour. Learn more about the group at their website. Tickets are available now, and if you buy one, you get one free.
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Photo column spacer Volunteer Prairie Seed Harvest – Saturday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
If you have a green thumb, you'll want to come to our annual Volunteer Prairie Seed Harvest events. It's the second such event this year and your chance to help diversify one of the oldest prairie restorations in Illinois. The laboratory's restored grassland spans about 1,100 acres, and the deep-rooted natural grasses help prevent erosion and preserve the area's aquifers. But for the prairies to become more beautiful and ecologically beneficial, they must feature a good mix of plants. That's why the lab hosts prairie seed harvests, in which volunteers collect seeds from dozens of species of plants to be distributed across the prairie the following year. The event typically draws more than 200 volunteers. No sign-up is necessary, just come to Fermilab on Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. and follow the signs to the harvest sites. In case of bad weather, call Roads and Grounds at 630-840-3303. More information is available online.
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Photo column spacer Physics Slam III – Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
SOLD OUT
Have you been to either of Fermilab's prior Physics Slam events? If so, you know how much fun they are. Five physicists enter, and each is given 10 minutes to convince the audience that his or her field of study is the most interesting and engaging. Only one will be crowned champion, and the audience will choose the winner. This year's contestants will discuss supernovae, big data, the world's most powerful digital camera and different aspects of neutrino physics, including how Fermilab scientists take pictures of these elusive particles. This year's slam will again be hosted by Chris Miller of the College of DuPage.
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Photo column spacer NOTE: Wilson Hall to close Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 28-29 for maintenance
Wilson Hall will be closed for maintenance on Saturday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 9, for maintenance, with a further closure planned for Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29. The Fermilab site will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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spacerIN THE NEWS
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Photo column spacer NOvA experiment begins taking data
Daily Mail: Are we closer to solving the meaning of life? World's longest neutrino beam seeks to find out why our universe exists
The Guardian: A huge new neutrino experiment, NOvA, is up and running
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Photo column spacer Interview with Fermilab scientist Josh Frieman
Quanta: Finding dark energy in the details
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Contact Info
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row spacer Call 630-840-3351 or email fermilab@fnal.gov with questions. Free public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The Fermilab site is open for visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wilson Hall's 15th-floor viewing area and art gallery are open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the 15th-floor area is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. row spacer
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Calendar

Science Adventure: Girls Scientific Salon
Sat., Nov. 1, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Grades 4-7

Volunteer Prairie Seed Harvest FREE
Sat., Nov. 1, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Get to Know Lederman Science FREE
Sat., Nov. 1, 10 a.m.
Ages 10 and up

Scottish Country Dancing FREE
Tue., Nov. 4, 7:30-10 p.m.

Get to Know Fermilab Guided Tour FREE
Wed., Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m.
Ages 10 and up

International Folk Dancing FREE
Thur., Nov. 6, 7:30-10 p.m.

Wilson Hall closed due to maintenance
Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 8-9

Science Adventure: Playing with Your Food
Sat., Nov. 8, 9-11 a.m.
Grades 1-3

Ask-a-Scientist: Huge Science: How We Build Particle Accelerators and What We Use Them For FREE
Sun., Nov. 9, 1-4 p.m..
Grades 6 and up

English Country Dancing FREE
Sun., Nov. 9, 2-5 p.m.

Barn Dance
Sun., Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.

Scottish Country Dancing FREE
Tue., Nov. 11, 7:30-10 p.m.

Get to Know Fermilab Guided Tour FREE
Wed., Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m.
Ages 10 and up

International Folk Dancing FREE
Thur., Nov. 13, 7:30-10 p.m.

Big Woods Volunteer Day FREE
Sat., Nov. 15, 9 a.m. - noon

Science Adventure: Art Mysteries: Science Solutions
Sat., Nov. 15, 9-11:30 a.m.
Grades 5-8

Science Adventure: Dinosaur Hunt
Sat., Nov. 15, 10 a.m.
Grades K-2
THIS EVENT IS FULL

Arts & Lecture Series: African Guitar Summit, direct from Canada
Sat., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.

Barn Dance
Sun., Nov. 16, 2 p.m.

Education Center Woods Volunteer Day FREE
Tue., Nov. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Scottish Country Dancing FREE
Tue., Nov. 18, 7:30-10 p.m.

Get to Know Fermilab Guided Tour FREE
Wed., Nov. 19, 10:30 a.m.
Ages 10 and up

International Folk Dancing FREE
Thur., Nov. 20, 7:30-10 p.m.

Arts & Lecture Series: Physics Slam III
SOLD OUT
Fri., Nov. 21, 8 p.m.

Science Adventure: Lego Engineering Juniors
Sat., Nov. 22, 9:30 a.m.
Grades 3-5
THIS EVENT IS FULL

Scottish Country Dancing FREE
Tue., Nov. 25, 7:30-10 p.m.

Get to Know Fermilab Guided Tour FREE
Wed., Nov. 26, 10:30 a.m.
Ages 10 and up

Wilson Hall closed due to maintenance
Friday-Saturday, Nov. 28-29

COMING IN DECEMBER

Arts & Lecture Series: Reduced Shakespeare Company's Ultimate Christmas Show
Sat., Dec. 6, 8 p.m.

Ask-a-Scientist: Using the Higgs Boson as a New Tool for Discovery FREE
Sun., Dec. 7, 1-4 p.m.
Grades 6 and up

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